Go Back

Vegan Thai noodle soup (kway teow nam sai – ก๋วยเตี๋ยวน้ำใสมังสวิรัติ)

While the instructions and majority of ingredients listed are to make one bowl, the fried tofu and mock pork recipes will provide enough for 6-8 bowls. I highly recommend using a noodle basket as it makes cooking single servings much more straightforward. The kruang prung ‘condiments’ are essential. You will find the soup lacking if you don’t use them.
Course: Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Thai


  • Two saucepans
  • Noodle basket (optional)


Vegan mock pork

  • 65 grams vital wheat gluten
  • 18 grams tapioca starch (2 tablespoons)
  • teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Pinch sugar
  • Pinch MSG
  • 30 millilitres cold water (2 tablespoons)
  • 15 millilitres vegetable oil (1 tablespoon)
  • 10 millilitres white rice vinegar (2 teaspoons)
  • 10 millilitres Thai thin soy sauce (2 teaspoons)

Fried tofu

  • 200 grams medium firm tofu
  • Boiled water with 2% salinity 20 grams salt per litre water
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Per bowl of noodles

  • 250 millilitres noodle soup stock (1 cup) See notes
  • 60 grams dried sen lek (thin flat rice noodles) or sen mee (very thin round rice noodles)
  • Small handful bean spouts
  • 1-2 stems morning glory, cut into 4 cm pieces
  • 2-3 pieces fried tofu (recipe follows) or use bought tofu puffs
  • 2-3 tablespoons mock ground pork (recipe follows)
  • 2 vegan Asian style meatballs optional (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon roughly chopped coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sliced spring onion
  • 1 teaspoon fried garlic in oil see notes
  • Kruang prung of chilli vinegar, prik bon, sugar, soy sauce with chillies see notes


How to make vegan pork

  • Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour into flour and stir with your fingers until it comes together, just beyond shaggy. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Heat a small pot of water on low, not boiling. When hot, tear the seitan pieces into the size you’d like and add them to the water. Cook for 10 minutes and drain.

How to fry the tofu

  • Cut the tofu into approximate 2-3 centimetre pieces. Don’t worry too much about getting this perfect. Dump the cubes into a heat proof bowl or saucepan. Pour the just boiled water over to cover. Cover and leave for 15 minutes. Strain and lay the tofu on a tea towel to dry, patting the edges to soak up water.
  • You can either shallow or deep fry the tofu. I prefer the latter. Add enough oil to cover the tofu and then some into a wok. Knock the heat up to medium high. Add the tofu and fry, turning the pieces from time to time with chopsticks or a holey-spoon (technical term for spider strainer), until puffy and golden. How long you fry is kind of down to personal preference. It’s going to be good no matter what. Remove with holey-spoon and leave to drain on kitchen roll or a clean tea towel you’ll immediately put in the wash after this.
  • If you prefer to shallow fry then add a bit of oil to a nonstick pan and fry the tofu on all sides until crispy and browned. Drain on kitchen roll or tea towel as above.

How to assemble the noodle bowl

  • Soak the rice noodles in lukewarm water for 30 minutes.
  • Find a pot that’s deep enough for at least most of your noodle basket to be submerged into. Fill the pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Meanwhile heat the stock in another pan and keep it hot. If you are using meatballs you can cook them in this stock while getting everything else ready.
  • Ready your serving bowl(s). You can pre-season with a splash of of soy sauce if you’d like. Or not.
  • Grab a handful of bean sprouts and the morning glory stems and place them in the basket, followed by the noodles. If you have soaked enough noodles for multiple bowls, you can guestimate by grabbing a small handful. Guess how much you think you should add and then add a little less than that.
  • Dunk the basket into the boiling water. Don’t worry if the basket doesn’t submerge all the way. You can turn the noodles with chopsticks in your dominant hand while holding the basket with the other, to ensure everything is cooked. The cooking time is fast, only a moment or two. The vegetables only need to be blanched and the noodles take only seconds to cook.
  • Remove the basket and shake it at a slight angle to remove excess water. Tip the noodles/veggies into a bowl. Add 2-3 pieces tofu, 2-3 tablespoons mock pork, and the vegan meatballs, if using. Pour the stock over the noodles. Spoon a teaspoon of garlic oil (don’t forget to include bits of garlic too) on top, followed by the herbs.
  • Serve with suggested condiments. You will definitely want to add some of the soy sauce. My personal preference is 4-6 teaspoons of soy sauce, with just a few of the chillies; 2-3 teaspoons chilli vinegar; about ¼ teaspoon sugar; and up to a teaspoon of toasted chilli powder. Experiment until you're happy with the flavour.


I recommend my recipe for Thai noodle soup stock here.
Get the recipe for gratiem jiaw, or fried garlic in oil.
The faux meat balls are optional. They aren't always easy to find. In the UK you can buy shiitake or the herbal ones from Veggie World. If in the USA, look to May Wah.
Recipes for three of the four condiments listed in the ingredients (I'm assuming you don't need one for sugar) – chilli vinegar, prik bon, soy sauce with chillies – can be found at:
Read my Thai soy sauce primer if you're not sure what I mean by thin soy sauce.